Monday, 19 August 2013

The CC's season in review

It has, I suppose, been a good season. But also a funny one. I've been able to play a lot more than the last two years, and that's meant I could play for both my teams.

For one team, it's been incredibly frustrating. The thing is, we have a lot of people who can bat a bit and bowl a bit. These days I can't stand the "bowl a few overs and bat around 6" role. I told the captains I'd either be 1 or 11 (and bowl) if possible.

It turns out that's not as much fun as it seems. I managed to end up at 11 on a pitch where someone hit 200, and opened on a succession of council tracks. And bluntly, I've had enough of bad wicket batting. Even if you get runs it's miserable. So, game by game:

1) 23 on a piece of outfield before one pitched on a length, ramped up, clipped the glove, and was taken by the keeper. Did not bowl. The oppo managed 80.

2) 4 not out coming in at number 10 before the rain came. Did not bowl.

3) Opened on a good wicket, caught off a leading edge for 2. The one game where I feel I did something really wrong. Though to be honest I've made far bigger mistakes in my time and not even offered a chance.

4) Bowled 8 tidy overs amid a run glut on a shirt front, came in at 10 with us needing 10 an over, hit my first ball for four, caught off the next one.

5) A very good (if I may say so) 56 on a pretty up and down pitch, and some tight overs that won us the game. But batting on that wicket more about survival than anything else.

6) 47 out of 123 on the same nightmare pitch, did not bowl.

7) 29 on a slow track with evenish bounce but lots of lateral movement, hard to time the ball and a team that kept swinging the ball too much so it kept going down leg. Pleased to see off the openers who were very good. Got trapped on the crease to a good one that swung in and seamed away and lost off stump. Just before some shite change bowling came on. A mistake, but innings worth a bit more than that.

8) One on a piece of outfield before one pitched on a length, ramped up, clipped the glove, and was taken by the keeper. Bowled ok but no wickets. Oppo struggled to chase 85.

9) When batting in 8), had taken guard miles outside the crease to negate the track. It didn't help. So this time took guard miles inside the crease and decided to swing at most balls. Made 9 with two fours before one pitched on a length, ramped up, clipped the glove, and was taken by the keeper. This time we were 90 all out. Oppo set 150 because we bowled really, really badly at them.

So you'll see a recurring theme here: balls flying off a length, brushing the glove, and being caught behind. I have tried two different tactics, and I've come to the conclusion there is honestly nothing you can do but hope you miss them.

Bloody annoying. Two match-winning knocks on difficult tracks, only one dismissal where I really blame myself, and I'm still averaging under 20. I finally broke down and had a big rant after number 8. I'd just had enough of shitty council pitches where the performance of every batsman is, by and large, a complete lottery. We've played loads of games on these tracks and in the past I suppose the roulette ball has landed in my zone more than enough, but it sure as hell hasn't this season.

It all sounds like excuses. But I know I'm in good form. Because in 7 games for my other team, I average about 45, and 15 with the ball. And if anything I've played worse for them. Off the pitch, it's been great fun. Team spirit is good - we could do with a bit of recruitment but the club is looking like it might survive, which last year I wasn't so sure about. I was really hoping to hit a ton this season, but looking at the games I've played, I can't even see when it would have happened (the one good track I played on we were chasing under 200, while my other team always like to bat second which rules most of those games out).

I think I'm getting old. You put up with this kind of thing when you're younger, but the more you play the more you're aware you have plenty of ways to get yourself out, thank you very much.

Grumble, grumble, grumble. I should have written about the Ashes instead.